Justice system’s problem right under Sereno’s nose
Janno Montecristo’s “Is there a ‘settled doctrine’ in PH?” hit the nail on the head (Letters, 11/7/14). He said: “It seems every division of the Supreme Court is free to make any disposition it pleases” regardless of whether or not it clashes with the rulings of the other divisions.
In the Court of Appeals, that happens all the time, but no one seems to mind because its divergent decisions are hardly cited for jurisprudential purposes. But it is another thing with the Supreme Court because one division’s ruling is no less a part of “jurisprudence” as any other division’s!
The effect of such a chaotic state of our so-called jurisprudence is seen frequently. The joke is, put two lawyers together and you will hear three different opinions! Indeed, one lawyer will say something and cite a Supreme Court division’s ruling to back it up. But before his saliva dries up, the other lawyer will say the opposite and cite another Supreme Court division’s ruling to also back it up! The third opinion comes in the form of an impression that both of them might be nuts!
We ourselves have had our share of bad court experiences. No matter how many decisional precedents our lawyers produced, the other side always came up with opposite decisional precedents, thereby leaving the trial judge hopelessly confused! In the end, judgment seemed to have been rendered by simply tossing a coin!
One thing is clear: for any real reform and stability to take place in our justice system, it must start with the Supreme Court! Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno need not look far and long for something to blame the poor state of our judicial system with (“Sereno seeks more budget for judiciary reforms,” Inquirer.net, 9/24/14). It is right there in her own backyard—nay, under her very nose!
—MARC A. L. LEVISTE,
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